"TA TA TEE TEE TA. TEERIE, TEERIE, TEERIE, TEERIE…"
Those nonsense, cadenced words accompanied by properly timed claps, symbolized the rhythmic quality of musical notes. They were meant to teach my kindergarten music class to read and understand the more theoretical qualities of song.
This childhood music class, taught by Mrs. Singer (ironic, eh?), formed the foundation of my love, appreciation and passion for music. I was sincerely blessed to attend a public elementary school (way back in the ‘80s) that had a visual art program (with its own teacher!), physical education (with its own teacher!) and plenty of affordable after-school theater and dance offerings.
These days, it’s common knowledge that students are lucky if they have some sort of arts education integrated into their mainstream core curriculum by their primary teacher and squeezed somewhere into the busy day.
The slashing of arts and physical education programs from public schools has been one of the biggest tragedies of recent years.
An alternative for many parents is Montessori education for their children. Montessori is a method of education that gives students the opportunity to learn in multi-age environments within a range of learning modalities.
The Milwaukee Public Schools system is incredibly unique in that it has seven Montessori Schools including, the North Side's Lloyd Barbee Montessori School.
Lloyd Barbee principal Catherine Loss explains, "Our Montessori curriculum allows for our teachers to use the arts as a mode for students to learn. They actively participate in the curriculum by ‘doing.’ The students at all age levels are encouraged to share the knowledge that they gain through expression in visual arts as well as singing and presenting about the curricular content areas."
Lloyd Barbee also has an art specialist that visits twice a week, allowing K5-6th grade students to have art programming weekly within their regular class schedule.
Loss says that the Milwaukee Public Schools system is an exception to the rule when it comes to cutting arts and physical education courses.
"In the past there were budget cuts in MPS that impacted arts programming, but over the past two years there have been more than 90 art, music and physical education specialist positions added to MPS schools. MPS has also worked with community partners in the past to provide programming," she says.
Lloyd Barbee Montessori captured my attention earlier this year, when OnMilwaukee.com’s Bobby Tanzilo made me aware of Loss’ intention to expand her after school arts program.
My husband and I were inspired, along with our dear Milwaukee friends Matt Turner and Sean Williamson (and a gaggle of generous donors and volunteers), to do what we could to help out.
We put together a fundraiser and Loss reported last week that Lloyd Barbee was able to raise a combined $47,000 through our event and additional grants enabling them to offer its after-school arts initiative to its students.
The funding has allowed Lloyd Barbee to partner with the African American Children’s Theater, Artists Working in Education, Danceworks and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music to provide students with a range of arts offerings.
All Lloyd Barbee students, as well as neighborhood children are invited to take part in this program that was developed with specific objectives and outcomes that the artists will use to plan their activities for the students.
"Each arts group will meet with the students twice a week, offering the students activities that are designed to enhance the child’s social – emotional growth, creative potential and academic achievement," says Loss.
Currently there is no transportation, so parents must arrange this for their children.
There is no fee, however, Lloyd Barbee does suggest a $15 donation from families and or their participation by volunteering at school to assist with program overhead.
Last year, over 120 students partook in the program.
"The students that participated gained so much confidence and when interviewed about what they liked about the school, the arts programming was one of their favorites," says Loss.
Much more than meets the eye goes into garnering funding and support for a program like Barbee’s. Loss details the hard work, paper pushing, meetings, planning and pre-fundraising required to green light this type of initiative.
"Since we were revamping the program to partner with well-known arts organizations in Milwaukee, we met with organizers from Common Ground of Milwaukee, a representative from MPS’ Recreation Department, Uniting Garden Homes (the neighborhood association near the school) and several arts groups.
"The programming was actually developed with these groups prior to writing the grant so that we would know what the costs would be. One caveat of the Partnership for the Arts grant is that we have to match the funds with cash on hand or in-kind donations.
"We were able to come up with $37,000 in matches, which were mostly in-kind volunteer hour donations provided by community members. We were also supported by the ‘After School’s Out’ fundraiser that raised $5,000 that has been deposited into the MPS Foundation Lloyd Barbee Montessori Fund. The participating arts organizations are also supporting the program with in-kind donations. "
While this financial achievement is stellar, Lloyd Barbee had initially planned to offer three after-school sessions to its students and neighboring children. The current funding only provides enough for two sessions. An additional $23,500 would be needed to fund the third session.
Money is not the only way to help Lloyd Barbee achieve its arts education goals. The program could also utilize donations of child size string instruments, art supplies and tap shoes.
Volunteers are welcome to help out with the after-school program offered Monday-Thursday from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. on school days starting at the end of October.
To participate, go to the MPS portal and fill out the MPS volunteer application for Lloyd Barbee Montessori School and help the Lloyd Barbee kids on their way to "TA TA TEE TEE TA" memories of their own.
MKE Dude | Oct. 17, 2013 at 3:44 p.m. (report)
We all need a little humor in the mix, right? Enjoy the sunshine, in case it's fleeting.
MKEdud, Sorry to jump to conclusions on your career choice. But from your long winded, condescending talking down too, pretentious tone. It seemed like an obvious assumption. LOL @ Alberta Darling though.
MKE Dude | Oct. 17, 2013 at 3:20 p.m. (report)
Once again you're allocating funds in a way that the law doesn't. So while it all sound pretty on paper, it's not how it works. Sorry, Alberta Darling, I'm not a teacher. But nice try. I just pay attention to the details, not to the right wing radio jocks spreading misinformation.
Ok, 900 / 6Million = $6,666 a year per student. Tuition at St Marcus or comparable school is approximately $2,500 a year. This gives a net savings to the tax payer of around 4k per student. 4k x 900 = 3.6 Million a year in savings that could be used to hire art teachers. You almost had me on that one teach.
MKE Dude | Oct. 17, 2013 at 2:48 p.m. (report)
1. I don't think money generated from the sale of the building goes into the general fund for hiring staff. I think it goes into the buildings and maintenance budget and is more likely to be used to pay down bonds (the latter is definitely true if SB318 passes, but I think it's true anyway under current law)
2. Let's say it does go into the general fund, which I'm pretty sure it doesn't, all those magical new art teachers will be presumably laid off the following year because the one-time sale creates a one-time couple million, not an annual couple million.
3. Again, the couple million raised from the ONE-TIME sale will be more than erased by the $6-$10 million ANNUAL loss (depending on whether you use simply state funding number or overall funding number) of 900 kids to the voucher program. Where do you think St. Marcus plans to get 900 children to put into Malcolm X?
Your interest in the subject is clearly not matched by your understanding of it.
Show me the other 9 Talkbacks
14 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Lindsay Garric
Published Dec. 5, 2013
As if it weren't enough that retailers went into Christmas mode while most of us were still trick or treating, I was also still really reeling from the notion that Thanksgiving Eve has now been christened "Brown Thursday." And then there's Cyber Monday. And don't forget #GivingTuesday ...
Published Nov. 20, 2013
My hair-brained mind cannot help but wonder if any chicks literally embracing Movember? Are there any women growing out their mustaches (gasp!) all November long?
Published Nov. 8, 2013
After driving my 12-year-old front wheel drive SUV 2241 miles in three days through a nasty autumn storm system, I consider myself fit to give a bit of advice on how to road trip like a boss.
Published Oct. 24, 2013
While it may seem natural that the horror film genre would appeal to what may appear to be my edgier tastes, I am really just a quivering baby when it comes to scary stuff, so I use the wussy technique of avoidance to cope.
Published Sept. 24, 2013
I can no longer deny that autumn is really here. The equinox has passed and although oddly warm temperatures may be trying to fool summer-loving souls, the scenery of changing leaves and the certainty of chilly nights are shoving the reality of this season in my face. So, in the spirit of having a "polished finger on beauty, fashion, fitness and nutrition trends," here are my five favorites for fall.
Published Sept. 11, 2013
Lindsay was hoping for a relaxing day with her husband in a poolside cabana. What she got instead was a bizarre performance that led her to pose this question: just how much is a decent person supposed to do in a pool shower?
Published Aug. 28, 2013
I've always wanted to be one of those people who don't take everything so seriously; who isn't so affected by what other people do and say; who doesn't feel quite so deeply about everything. I consciously work on building a thicker skin, but alas - some personality traits die hard.
Published Aug. 5, 2013
If you are professional musician who marries a girl from Milwaukee, expect to spend more than a little of your time in her beloved hometown. That's the case for singer-songwriter Wil Seabrook, reality star, musician and human rights activist, who is returning to his wife's hometown on Aug. 8 for an intimate show at Sugar Maple.
Published July 23, 2013
I'd never been to Wanderlust, the festival that celebrates the union of yoga, music and nature until this past weekend. I journeyed to Wanderlust California for the fifth anniversary of the festival held at beautiful Squaw Valley Ski Resort in Olympic Valley, Calif. (home of the 1960 Winter Olympics), near Lake Tahoe.
Published July 11, 2013
I have a health infatuation - herbal remedies. Utilizing herbs as a natural means to treat health issues and ailments is something I've been interested in since my first allergic reaction to Western medication in my teens. I recently explored herbal shopping options in Milwaukee and was thrilled to discover The Natural Food Shop on the South Side.